Kia Classic Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews

Yani Tseng
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Yani Tseng of Taiwan hits a driver on the fifth hole during the fourth round of the Kia Classic at the La Costa Resort and Spa.

Kia Classic
Aviara Golf Club
Carlsbad, Calif.
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
March 20, 2013

Defending champion out
Cutbacks
Lights, Camera, Glam!
Making an impact
See ya in a Kia!
Tweets of the Day
Five Things You Didn’t Know About…Sara-Maude Juneau

Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11

 

Defending champion out: Rolex Rankings No. 2 Yani Tseng won’t be in the field this week to defend her title at the Kia Classic. Per LPGA regulations, Tseng was withdrawn from this week’s tournament after she missed her pro-am time on Wednesday morning.

Below is a statement from Tseng:

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning. I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans. The Kia Classic is one of my favorite tournaments and I have so many great memories in San Diego. I can’t wait to come back here next year.”

 

Cutbacks: Nine-time LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer has adopted a new approach to tournament weeks, one has seemed to worked and has her cutting back on practice time. Creamer concentrated on minimizing the number of swings she was taking following the auto accident she was involved in at the Tour’s stop in Thailand and said that practicing a little less has helped refresh herself.

“Definitely, it really has,” said Creamer. “It's funny how unfortunate accidents things like that kind of change the way you look about.  I still am going to be practicing and hitting and putting and chipping and all of that, but the amount of time actually spent, you need to really just do what you need to do and kind of get out of there.”

Creamer went into the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore with barely any practice behind her but went on to record a third place finish. She’s coming off a T13 last week in Phoenix at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup and says some swing changes for the better have her in a great state of mind this season.

“I've had to kind of limit the amount of balls that I hit here and there, really just concentrating on, when I'm there, really working,” said Creamer. “It's more about the things that go into it than the amount of balls that I hit.  But other than that, my golf swing has really changed a lot for the better.  My scores are a lot more consistent right now.  I changed my putter at the end of last year and went back to my two-ball that I started out here with and just to get back the confidence.  I've won with it several times and just wanted to go back to kind of basics…This golf course is obviously new, so I played 18 holes yesterday and then 9 holes today.  It's kind of more I do my work at home and then when I get to a tournament really just focus on the course.”

 

Lights, Camera, Glam! Several LPGA players had the chance to take part in a unique off-course experience Tuesday night at the Park Hyatt Aviara when Golf Channel hosted the group for interviews and a photo shoot to display the pros in a glamorous light off the course. Accompanied by a red carpet, various props and advance slow-motion technology, the players will be showcased for fans like never before.

“It was great, it was so much fun,” said Creamer. “You come in and get your hair and makeup done like you said.  Just showing a little bit of your own personality.  I love fashion, so whenever it comes to getting your hair and makeup done, wearing a pretty dress and heels, I'm all for it. 

“But just to show we are females, just because we're athletes, we are very feminine, and like I said, we all have own personalities and characteristics like everybody does,” said Creamer. “To show that on camera, you don't get to see it a lot so it was great.  Even being with the girls at the same time, just signing a mirror with lipstick, there's not many times that you get to do that.  Just showing that there is a little bit more to us than hitting the ball in a four-inch hole.”

Golf Channel will use the shots throughout LPGA telecasts starting at the Tour’s first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in two weeks.

 

Making an impact: Third-year LPGA player Beatriz Recari has been named official ambassador for The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those who suffer from eating disorders by promoting a healthy lifestyle, positive body image, and boosting self-esteem. 

The 25 year-old charismatic Spaniard, who is off to a hot start with two top-five finishes so far this season, aims to raise awareness by sharing her inspiring story of overcoming her eating disorder to find a healthy physical and mental balance in her life, paving the way for her to become a successful professional golfer.  She will host the first annual “Beatriz Recari and Friends Alliance Golf Classic” this fall in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation, and will also act as a motivational speaker at events and speaking engagements around the nation.

“This is a cause that really resonates with me, as I was able to overcome an eating disorder to find a healthy balance in my life and ultimately find success on the LPGA Tour,” Recari stated.  “I am proud to represent The Alliance and I hope that by sharing my story, I am able to have a positive impact on the lives of others.”

 

See ya in a Kia! Kia Motors America and Kia’s official golf ambassador, two-time LPGA winner Michelle Wie, paired up today to donate a new 2014 Sorento CUV to Operation Hero, one of the keystone programs of the nearby Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA).

Operation Hero provides free mentoring and tutoring to at-risk elementary-aged children of military families living at Camp Pendleton, which is home to more than 100,000 men and women of the armed forces and their families.  The range-topping Sorento is intended to shuttle staff and students from Camp Pendleton to various YMCA activities nearby. 

Tweets of the Day: “I am really sad, I am going to miss this week, I didn't feel well last night and when I fell asleep, my alarm didn't go off,

Because my phone was dead. My caddy tried to call me, but my phone was dead. I am really sorry to Kia, my sponsors and my fans.

Now I will work hard and prepare for the Kraft. And I am going to buy few alarm clock for next week, make sure I wake up on time” -@YaniTseng

 

Five Things You Didn’t Know About…Sara-Maude Juneau

  1. She is quite the mixologist and worked as a bartender in Quebec the winter before she left for college at the University of Louisville.
  2. Sara-Maude took up cross-country skiing this past winter and received a pair of skis for Christmas.
  3. She grew up playing baseball on boys teams and played the sport for seven years before getting serious about her golf career.
  4. She recently moved to Orlando and is roommates with Symetra Tour pro Tracy Stanford.
  5. When she’s stressed out, Sara-Maude likes to hit the hard court and shoot hoops.

 

Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11

MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome in Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11.  Thanks for coming in.
PAULA CREAMER:  Thank you, thanks for having me.

MODERATOR:  You've gotten off to a pretty good start this year, some good starts the past two events.  Talk about just the state of your game, how you're feeling.  Obviously it's been a storyline with the accident and your health, so just tell us how you're feeling coming into this week.
PAULA CREAMERI feel pretty good with the way things are going about, especially on the golf course.  After the accident in Thailand, it was pretty bad.  I don't really talk about it that much, it's not something that brings warm and fuzzies back.  It's still hard for me to get into a car especially when someone else drives, I don't watch, my head's always down.  It was my first major accident that I've ever been in, hopefully never have to go through it, but people that have been through it, they understand it's kind of a long process.

But I have two -- my vertebrae is a little bit out of place, two disks that just aren't falling into the right place.  It's kind of been causing me some pain, but we're getting through it and I have a lot of help with the physio.  I've had to kind of limit the amount of balls that I hit here and there, really just concentrating on, when I'm there, really working.  It's more about the things that go into it than the amount of balls that I hit.  But other than that, my golf swing has really changed a lot for the better.  My scores are a lot more consistent right now.  I changed my putter at the end of last year and went back to my two-ball that I started out here with and just to get back the confidence.  I've won with it several times and just wanted to go back to kind of basics.

MODERATOR:  You've said you've kind of cut back on the practice, but then in Singapore you barely practiced and went out and had a 3rd place.  Does that change anything kind of going into the next couple of events?
PAULA CREAMERDefinitely, it really has.  It's funny how unfortunate accidents things like that kind of change the way you look about.  I still am going to be practicing and hitting and putting and chipping and all of that, but the amount of time actually spent, you need to really just do what you need to do and kind of get out of there.  We've played these golf courses so many times and not a lot has changed.  This golf course is obviously new, so I played 18 holes yesterday and then 9 holes today.  It's kind of more I do my work at home and then when I get to a tournament really just focus on the course.

MODERATOR:  Talk about the course this week.  New track, what are your thoughts?  Some people say it's going to be a cool ending.  Someone said the 18th is a pretty good setup.  What's your overall thoughts?
PAULA CREAMERI think it's a great golf course.  I think the fairways are very generous, but obviously they're huge greens but you have to hit it in the right section or else you're going to have some impossible putts out there.  I do, I think the par 3s are some of the most beautiful par 3s I've seen.  The flowers, everything that they've done, it's really a fun golf course.  I played with the president this morning, President Ahn, and he was saying every hole has its own unique characteristic.  And it's true, there's no hole that's the same, and that's pretty nice when you're a golfer and you can go out and every hole requires something different.

MODERATOR:  Obviously a storyline this week, Stacy taking over No. 1.  You guys, you especially being one of the top Americans, have been asked so many times, what's wrong with American golf, what's the American women doing.  What does that say for you guys as a collective group and kind of shut up the critics, I guess you could say, but for you guys as a collective group besides Stacy sitting at No. 1?
PAULA CREAMER4

MODERATOR:  What kind of hype do you think that's kind of bringing into Solheim?  I know it's a little far off, it's in August, but to say that's my teammate, how are your feelings of this year being a Solheim Cup year?
PAULA CREAMERWe're so excited.  I can speak for some of the girls, we've done some dinners and things like that.  We want that cup back so bad.  And for me that's the highlight, that week, there's nothing like it.  I love representing my country, I love wearing red, white and blue, and being on a team is something that we don't get to do very often.  When you're battling against these girls every week and then for just this one week we come together, playing in front of the fans and everything, there's nothing like it.  I think we are so motivated.  Having Meg as our captain, we're really looking forward to it and I think there's going to be a really strong team out there.

MODERATOR:  I want to touch on one last thing.  Last week you got the chance to do the Twitter Takeover, kind of a cool thing Golf Channels' been starting and it's been continuing this year.  What was it like to really connect with fans on TV, through Twitter, through the LPGA account, what are your thoughts on that and the opportunity to do that?
PAULA CREAMERI think it's great.  I think Twitter has actually been a wonderful thing for just people in general but for athletes also because there are questions there that we don't get asked in normal interviews and I think it's good to be able to tell people what you do, where you're going and kind of living the life that we live.  I mean, I feel like I have the luckiest job in the world being able to travel the world.  However, it's not as glamorous as it looks and through Twitter you can kind of show what you're doing and being able to do it on Golf Channel was actually really neat.  It was fun being able to have your fans and your followers ask you a question, literally you answer it to the camera.  I think that that's neat and hopefully it continues.

MODERATOR:  They knew it was you.
PAULA CREAMERIt's me.  I Twitter, I promise it's me.

MODERATOR:  What was the one question that maybe caught you off guard or one that stuck out that was surprising?
PAULA CREAMERI always get asked to get married.  Everybody's asking, Will you marry me?  Will you marry me?  I'm like, I don't even know you, you know.  You have to ask my dad first.

MODERATOR:  We'll work on that.  And then last night another cool off-course thing you were involved in, Golf Channel posted a photo video shoot that got a lot of the players involved, glammed you up, had the makeup, hair done, dress, heels.  How's that in terms of showcasing you guys off the course?  I know that's something at the LPGA we try to kind of (inaudible) on because you are a person outside of your hat and golf clothes.  What'd you get to do there?  Explain that to us a little bit.
PAULA CREAMERWell, it was great, it was so much fun.  Everybody, you come in and get your hair and makeup done like you said.  Just showing a little bit of your own personality.  I love fashion, so whenever it comes to getting your hair and makeup done, wearing a pretty dress and heels, I'm all for it.  But just to show we are females, just because we're athletes, we are very feminine, and like I said, we all have own personalities and characteristics like everybody does.  To show that on camera, you don't get to see it a lot so it was great.  Even being with the girls at the same time, just signing a mirror with lipstick, there's not many times that you get to do that.  Just showing that there is a little bit more to us than hitting the ball in a four-inch hole.

 




Kia Classic

Aviara Golf Club
Carlsbad, Calif.
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
March 19, 2013

She’s a big deal
Back to work
Thanks Mom!
Another type of ambassador
Quotable
Tweet of the Day
Five Things You Didn’t Know About…Brooke Pancake
Of Note

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. is the backdrop this week for the fourth-annual Kia Classic (@LPGAKiaClassic), where 144 players will compete for a $1.7 million purse and a $255,000 first place check.

Yani Tseng (@YaniTseng) hopes to defend her title this week after capturing her 15th LPGA victory last season when she trumped Sun Young Yoo by six-strokes. The Taiwanese star had a hot start to the 2013 season with two top-5 finishes in the first four events and is in search of capturing her 16th career victory and defending her third title of the year.

Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) is in the field this week after capturing her seventh career victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday. With her win, she unseats Yani Tseng from the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot and takes her place as the No. 1 female golfer in the world. The 2012 Player of the Year comes off her second consecutive victory of the 2013 season with her first coming at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore.

She’s a big deal…Stacy Lewis might not have known how big of a deal her climb to the No. 1 spot in the world  was until the outpour of well wishes and congratulations from friends and family in the hours after her win last week in Phoenix. She also said it was seeing her name next to the No. 1 that certainly put things in perspective.

“It was a little strange definitely to see myself there,” said Lewis. “I don't think it's really kind of hit me over the last two days just people have come up to me.  One of my friends, her parents live in Boston and they said I was on the front page of the Boston Globe, and then just kind of how big it really is and how much publicity it's gotten.  I didn't realize it was such a big deal at the time, but it's kind of hit me the more I've talked about it and the more people that have said congratulations and that they saw it.”

When asked if she heard from anyone special that really stuck out to her, she said former No. 1 Yani Tseng’s message afterward made a huge impression on her.

“I turned my phone on, I think I had at least 60 texts when I first turned it on and haven't gotten back to all of them obviously,” said Lewis. “But the coolest one I think is the one I got from Yani.  I know she may have said that she wanted to lose that spot to kind of help her, but I know she didn't want to lose No. 1 and she was very just very nice to me and congratulations, you played awesome, and kind of added at the end that she was coming after me now and to watch out.  We kind of have a cool relationship built over the last few years and I think it's something that's going to continue.”

Back to work…Lewis is well-known for her fierce work ethic and dedication to her fitness routine and being crowned the best player in the world didn’t hold the Texas native back from hitting the gym amidst the media requests and outpouring of congratulations and well-wishes. She said she did get a chance on Sunday to celebrate just a little bit, but after arriving in the San Diego area at about 1 a.m. on Monday morning, it was back to work for the seven-time LPGA Tour winner.

“I stayed with Betsy King last week, so we just went back to her house afterwards and she was nice enough to cook us a nice dinner and just sat around with my dad and my team and we just kind of did a little celebration there,” said Lewis. “It was funny that night, I was going to the airport and I got a text from my trainer and he said -- he's coming out this week and he said, ‘I'll see you at the gym at 9:00 a.m.’ So he's kind of the one person that it's great that we did that, but we have to get back to work, too.”

Thanks Mom! Lewis’ struggle with scoliosis and overcoming a condition that forced her into a back brace for 18 hours a day as a kid is an inspiration in itself. But when asked who was responsible for inspiring her throughout her arduous journey, Lewis credits her mom, Carol.

“If you look throughout my back stuff, it was probably my mom,” said Lewis. “She was the one that, we went back and forth to the doctor over and over again.  And there were plenty of times that I took my brace off and told her that I wasn't going to wear it anymore and she said, No, you're going to put that thing back on.”

Lewis has been known to wear her emotions on her sleeve on the course and credits her mom for instilling the firey mindset in her from the beginning.

“And she was the one that really kind of put that mentality, that never-give-up mentality in me that it wasn't an option.  I was going to wear the brace, we were going to do this, we were going to do that, and it was going to be fine at the end.  She put that -- I think the way I am on the golf course now is because of that.”

Another type of ambassador…Lewis has been an outstanding ambassador for both the LPGA Tour and women’s golf on and off the course throughout her career and has played her way into the role of the face of women’s golf. Last week after her win, she donated $50,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, but this week she was named another type of ambassador. Earlier today Lewis was announced as a brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker OMEGA. Through their news release, the company said the addition of Lewis helps further the brand’s growing golf portfolio and highlight its continued investment in the sport of golf.

Quotable... “I don't know what I'm looking forward to.  I just know that I'm going to have fun.  I know there's a lot of people that would love to be in my position right now and that's why I just want to have fun and enjoy it.  I'm not going to say I want to be in this position for a certain number of weeks or years because you can't do that, there's too many other good players out here.  So I'm going to just enjoy this position and keep trying to win golf tournaments.” –Stacy Lewis on her expectations of playing with the No. 1 ranking in the world


Tweet of the Day: Stacy Lewis documenting the whereabouts of the Mike Whan (@LPGACommish) bobblehead she received in Phoenix last week.
Freeze gopher! @lpga @LPGACommish @LPGAKiaClassic

Five Things You Didn’t Know About…Brooke Pancake

  1. She likes to cook and her favorite recipe is her family’s homemade apple pie
  2. Quite the scholar-athlete, Brooke studied marketing at the University of Alabama and graduated in 2012 with a 4.0 GPA. Her favorite class in college? Innovation in her marketing department
  3. Two years ago on Halloween, she and her family actually dressed up as pancakes
  4. Brooke was introduced to the game by her grandpa, Jimbo Eakin, when she was eight years old
  5. She’s a self-proclaimed wine lover. Her wine of choice? Pinot Noir 

Of Note… Cydney Clanton and Paz Echeverria earned spots in the field at the Monday Qualifier at El Camino Country Club. Clanton, a second-year Tour member shot a 67 while Echeverria, a 2013 LPGA Tour rookie, posted a 68.

 

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1

MODERATOR:  Okay, everybody.  I would like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis, and I'm sure that hasn't gotten old just yet.  It's probably been a whirlwind 48 hours since your win in Phoenix.  Since you were here yesterday, you went to go work out in the morning with your trainer.  Was there any celebrating?  What's the past 48 hours really been like?
STACY LEWISIt's been pretty crazy.  I stayed with Betsy King last week, so we just went back to her house afterwards and she was nice enough to cook us a nice dinner and just sat around with my dad and my team and we just kind of did a little celebration there.  It was funny that night, I was going to the airport and I got a text from my trainer and he said -- he's coming out this week and he said, I'll see you at the gym at 9:00 a.m.  So he's kind of the one person that it's great that we did that, but we have to get back to work, too.

MODERATOR:  Now it was projected you were going to be No. 1 after your win, so you pretty much knew, but Monday morning the official rankings come out.  What was the feeling when you actually saw your name next to No. 1 was it any different, was that kind of what hit home, you were like, I did it, there I am?
STACY LEWISIt was a little strange definitely to see myself there.  I don't think it's really kind of hit me over the last two days just people have come up to me.  One of my friends, her parents live in Boston and they said I was on the front page of the Boston Globe, and then just kind of how big it really is and how much publicity it's gotten.  I didn't realize it was such a big deal at the time, but it's kind of hit me the more I've talked about it and the more people that have said congratulations and that they saw it.

MODERATOR:  I'm sure your text messages, email, fax machine, Twitter, whatever you have is going to be blown up.  Talk about, I guess, the most special person that reached out to you, something that really kind of hit home that you said, Wow, thanks for reaching out, this is a big deal.
STACY LEWISI got a bunch of them.  I turned my phone on, I think I had at least 60 texts when I first turned it on and haven't gotten back to all of them obviously.  But the coolest one I think is the one I got from Yani.  I know she may have said that she wanted to lose that spot to kind of help her, but I know she didn't want to lose No. 1 and she was very just very nice to me and congratulations, you played awesome, and kind of added at the end that she was coming after me now and to watch out.  We kind of have a cool relationship built over the last few years and I think it's something that's going to continue over the next couple.

MODERATOR:  There's been so much talk about the stigma, the pressure of No. 1 both on the women's side, the men's side.  It's been said that you think you'll thrive in that.  What are you looking forward to the most holding the No. 1 spot having that target on your back every week?
STACY LEWISI don't know, I don't know what I'm looking forward to.  I just know that I'm going to have fun.  I know there's a lot of people that would love to be in my position right now and that's why I just want to have fun and enjoy it.  I'm not going to say I want to be in this position for a certain number of weeks or years because you can't do that, there's too many other good players out here.  So I'm going to just enjoy this position and keep trying to win golf tournaments.

MODERATOR:  Let's talk about the fellow who's joining us here to your left.
STACY LEWISThis little guy.

MODERATOR:  Last week they had some players featured as bobbleheads, you had one of your own, but it looks like you got the exclusive edition Mike Whan bobblehead.  I don't know what his review of that would be, but we saw you post on Twitter kind of your edition of Where in the World is Mike Whan.  So talk about how that idea came up and where that's going.
STACY LEWISWell, everybody got bobbleheads of me last week and we were kind of playing around with them, so I thought I could have some fun with Mike.  And the tournament actually gave it to me, I think this is the only one.  So he had some fun out on the golf course today, he drove a Kia, he was kind of popping out of the hole at one point.  So we just kind it had some fun with it, had some fun with Mike.  I told him I was doing that, so he was fine with it.

Q.  Hi, Stacy.  Dave Smith, NBC here locally.  Welcome.  Saw you out there on 18 as you were finishing up a little practice round today.  Can you tell us your thoughts about 18?  It's kind of a special finishing hole and interested to hear what you think about that.
STACY LEWISYeah, I think you look at this golf course, I think 18's the best hole on the course.  The fact it's the finishing hole makes it even better.  It's a hard driving hole.  It's maybe not driver depending on the wind, but I think there's going to be a lot happening on that hole, good and bad probably.  It will definitely make for a good finish to this tournament.

Q.  Stacy, your back issues have been well chronicled.  I'm wondering, did you ever consider going to the belly putter or anchoring or long putter because of your back, and where do you stand on that proposed rule change?
STACY LEWISWell, I have played a round with a belly putter, kind of just had some friends that had one.  It's hard, I can't do it.  I've never had any issues with my back as far as putting too long or anything like that so I've never had to go to it that way.  I think it's hard.  I think people, if you can putt that way, more power to you.  I really don't have a problem with it.  I have more of a problem actually with viewers being able to call in rulings, but I think there's other things in the game.  You look at how far everybody's hitting the ball right now and how much the ball spins and the grooves on wedges, I think there's a lot more bigger issues than whether you're anchoring a putter or not.

Q.  In the aftermath of your win and the rules thing and all that, obviously the focus was on the win, which it should have been, you just made mention of the viewer thing, so expand on that a little more.  What really gets to you about that ability for a viewer to do that?
STACY LEWISWell, I think the hard part about our situation is Travis didn't even know that his foot moved until he saw it on TV.  He didn't know it even moved.  So the hard part is that I think a viewer at home doesn't know what your intent of what you're doing in that situation.  And if I had seen Travis do that, I probably would have called the penalty and he would have told me if he did that, but neither one of us knew that we did it at the time.  So it was just a weird and it was a tough situation. 

But it was strange, that night I had an unbelievable sense of calm about the whole situation.  I walked out of the media center and my dad and Travis and my coach were kind of sitting on the side of the putting green not really saying anything, had their heads down, and I kind of clapped my hands, and I said, Hey, we've got a golf tournament to win.  It's not a big deal, we're going to move on and we're going to win this tournament, and that was my mindset the whole time.

Q.  Separate follow-up, the last holes here, you talked about 18.  How about 16 and 17?  16, did you try that today?  I saw players were kind of trying both things.  And then 17's one of the longer par 5s, just seems like a neat closing stretch.  But tell us a little bit about 16 and 17.
STACY LEWISYeah, 16, obviously from the up tee it will be drivable.  I hit it on the front of the green today, so I think 16, a lot will depend where the pin is.  If it's a back pin and it's drivable, I don't really know if it's worth it.  And I think a lot of this golf course is, depending on the hole locations kind much where you hit it, whether you go for a par 5 or whether you don't.

And then a lot -- actually, a lot of the par 5s on this golf course, they kind of have to move some tees up to make them reachable.  So I would like to see them do that just to create some variation in there so you're not just kind of driver, 3-wood, wedge.  It gets a little monotonous at times.

Q.  Congratulations on No. 1.

STACY LEWIS:  Thank you.

Q.  Talk about your back issues growing up.  Did you ever think growing up all those days in the back brace that you would ever be No. 1 on the LPGA Tour?  And talking to that, if so, like who was your number one motivating person that kept pushing you along every time you wanted to give up potentially?
STACY LEWISWell, as far as the golf side, I never really dreamed of being on Tour playing golf.  I played golf because I liked it and my dad told me I needed to get a college scholarship, so that was kind of the reason that I played.  And then, I mean, if you look throughout my back stuff, it was probably my mom.  She was the one that, we went back and forth to the doctor over and over again.  And there were plenty of times that I took my brace off and told her that I wasn't going to wear it anymore and she said, No, you're going to put that thing back on.  And she was the one that really kind of put that mentality, that never-give-up mentality in me that it wasn't an option.  I was going to wear the brace, we were going to do this, we were going to do that, and it was going to be fine at the end.  She put that -- I think the way I am on the golf course now is because of that.

Q.  Can you speak about the global growth of the LPGA?  This year there's 28 full-field events and just 14 in the U.S., one less than last year.  Do you think it's fair to say that golf is growing more around the world, women's golf maybe more around the world than in the U.S.?  
STACY LEWISI don't know.  I think the whole game is becoming more global just because of the players that we have.  We have players from Thailand, so we have a tournament in Thailand.  We have players in Japan, so we have a tournament in Japan.  So I think it's fair to say we go play where our players are from, and I think that's only fair to them.  They come and play here, so we should go play there, too. 

At the same time, it's a U.S. based Tour and we want to keep it that way, so I think the more events we can get in the U.S. is definitely always better for the Tour.  We've added some domestic events and I feel like we're moving in the right direction, but I think it would be unfair if we didn't go play where all of our stars are from.

Q.  Just to follow up, five majors this year and you have three of the tournaments, there's an off week before the event.  Do you like having an off week in terms of preparation or would you prefer to be playing a lot up until the events?
STACY LEWISI would rather be playing.  I always seem to play better when I have kind of some momentum going, so I would definitely rather play leading up to majors.  But can't really do too much about that.  But a lot of the times it's hard if we play in the States and then the next week we play in France.  The travel is too hard, so in that aspect I don't mind it so much.

Q.  Without giving away too many secrets, your reading of greens is something that's really improved.  It seems kind of a blend of some science and other stuff.  Again without giving too much away, can you explain how that works?
STACY LEWISYep.  Well, it's Aimpoint and everybody can go take a class and learn it, so I guess it's not too much of a secret.  But I learned it, gosh it's been almost three years, two and a half, three years.  It's really based on gravity and how water flows off of a green.  So every time I walk up to a whole, I'm trying to find a straight putt, and once you find a straight putt, it's how much slope there -- what affects the read is how much slope is there and then how far away you are from the straight putt. 

So the further you get from the straight putt, the more it's going to break.  So it's a combination of that and you have a little chart that gives you the exact read for every single putt.  So it's really, it's almost like cheating.  I can walk around and have down to the inch how far every putt's going to break.  So I can -- and that's the thing, too, is you're walking around, you're feeling it with your feet versus looking at it, and that's kind of the big difference because a lot of times golf courses try to throw you off visually with mounds or hills or whatever it may be on how putts break.

MODERATOR:  It sounds easy.

STACY LEWIS:  Pretty easy, right?

Q.  One more question if I may.  Can you give your assessment of the field per se.  Here you are No. 1 and this tournament is being touted as having 99 of the Top 100 players here.  Talk about the competition.  Talk about what it means to have everyone show up in that manner for this tournament.
STACY LEWISWell, I think it shows to the sponsor and the venue and where we are that everybody wants to be here.  Anytime I think you can get the best players in the world together on the same golf course, that's -- I mean, what more can you ask for?  I mean, I want to win when the best players are there.  That's when you want to win those tournaments.  Certainly I think we have all of -- a lot of the Top 20, 30 in the rankings are here and it's a tremendous field for -- I think a lot of it actually has to do with leading up to a major, that usually kind of gets people there.  But Kia always puts on such a great event that everybody seems to show up for it.

Q.  If you have similar conditions to what you have today, what would you see as the scoring being like here and what's going to be the most difficult part about the golf course?
STACY LEWISI don't know.  I mean, I see -- I'm never good at the numbers thing, but I see scores being fairly low just because the greens are pretty soft.  But there's also going to be some high scores; if you get on the wrong side of the greens, you can make some big numbers pretty easy.  But I think scoring will be good.  It's hard to tell.  A new course, you kind of never know.  But there's the par 5s you're going to all have wedges into.  There's some holes where you don't really have a lot of long irons into holes, you have some mid irons, so I think it's going to be fairly scorable.

Q.  Is it a good prep course for the Kraft in two weeks say compared to (inaudible) much of a difference, do you think?
STACY LEWISThis course really isn't much like that course at the Kraft unfortunately.  Beside the long one of -- this one's pretty hilly, different greens, slower greens than we're going to see at the majors.  Other than the long rough, I don't think it's really going to help too much other than I think it's just more the fact that it's just getting to play and having to make some putts.  That always helps you kind of get ready for a major.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Kia Classic